Werner is summoned to speak with the commandant at the National Institute. The commandant calls Werner into his office and tells him that something has come to his attention: Werner’s age has been recorded incorrectly. Werner is 18, not 16. Werner doesn’t understand, as this information is false. The commandant informs Werner that Dr. Hauptmann has pointed out the age discrepancy. Hauptmann has arranged for Werner to be transferred to the special technology division of the German army. The commandant tells Werner that he is “very lucky.”
Instead of being sent to study rocket science in Berlin, Werner is instead shipped off to war—all because of bad timing and forces external to his own free will. It’s remarkable that Hauptmann could be so spiteful to his former favorite pupil: instead of simply abandoning Werner, Hauptmann has gone out of his way to punish Werner for questioning the Nazi cause—a punishment that is likely to end in Werner’s death.